Do Common Fantasy Elements Turn You Away?

Hi everyone!

Burning-Skies-Digital-FinalFirst, I just have to say it…2 days away form Burning Skies!!!!  :D :D :D  It’s almost here!  Can you believe it?  Two years ago I thought I’d never get published.  And in just two days, my second novel is coming out.  Wow!  heheh.

Ahem.  Anyway, onto the meat of this post.  I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while, but I kept wanting to post about Burning Skies instead, lol.

Image Source - http://daroz.deviantart.com/
Image Source – http://daroz.deviantart.com/

Elves.  Wizards.  Dragons.  Orcs.  Trolls.  Medieval Europe.  An all-important, powerful sword.  These are all elements of ‘traditional’ fantasy.  And a week or so ago, I remember reading another blog article in which the writer stated he was instantly turned off by any fantasy novel that included any of these elements.

Is this a universal truth?  Has the common elements, which in Tolkien’s days were uncommon, been overused, overdone, burned out, and therefore have no place in any hopeful, up and coming writer’s works?

This is a particularly important question for me.  It begs the question, will the Sword of Dragons series ever take off?  Or is it doomed to fade into the background as ‘just another Fantasy novel’ because it includes these tropes?

Make It Your Own

Everyone’s looking for that next original, ground-breaking story.  One that turns the genre up on its head.  That has that ‘wow!’ factor and makes us want to read it just because it’s different.

Image Source - http://ertacaltinoz.deviantart.com
Image Source – http://ertacaltinoz.deviantart.com

And I believe, in part, this is why A Song of Ice and Fire has done so incredibly well.  It has the shock and awe factor going for it.  It is so different from other Fantasy stories.  For starters, no character is safe.

But the more ‘traditional’ adventure stories?  They are not dead.  They are not doomed.  So long as you make it your own.

“What does that mean,” you ask?  It means take those common elements, and turn them on their head.  Put an original spin on them.  And no, I’m not saying make it different just to make it different.  Make it your own.  Write it in such a way that is unique to you.  So that when someone talks about how you made the elf culture, or how magic works in your universe, that they can point to it and go “that’s this one author’s version.  No one else writes it like she does.”

And whatever you do, don’t be afraid.  “They won’t like it.”  How do you know?  Take a chance.  Write what you are passionate about.  Believe me, the readers will feel it.  And word will spread.  Slow at first, but word will spread.

never-stop-writing
Image Source – http://www.writetheworld.me

Furthermore, and I cannot stress this enough: practice your craft!  Practice!  Write!  Write some more!  Never stop.  Because that will also shine through.  If your story is good, and is told well, you’ll draw readers in.

Finally, find that original spin, and make sure you include it when you’re replying to the inevitable question “What’s your book about?”  And sometimes, that original spin is the tone.  If your book is whimsical, make sure your description is whimsical.  If it is dramatic, make the back cover dramatic.  Match your tone, so that when you do draw in readers, it is the appropriate audience.

Never Give Up

Finally, never give up.  Not if you’re passionate about it.  To quote a classic movie: “Go the distance.”  (Right next to “If you build it, they will come…”)

Image Source - boston.com
Image Source – boston.com

Thanks for reading, everyone!  I can’t wait to hear what you all think of Burning Skies when it comes out :D  And as always, I love hearing back from you, so please comment below!

-Jon Wasik

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